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Where did government come from? Did you realize that this concept was first introduced by God Himself?

As we know, Scripture reveals the plan of God, which is unfolded for us through the various dispensations.

Let us begin with a brief review. According to Bishop Ussher’s count, the dispensation of government covered 226 years. It includes the Table of Nations in Genesis 10 and the account of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11, ending with Genesis 11:32. When God gives a fundamentally new revelation, as recorded in His Word, a new dispensation begins and mankind’s responsibilities to God are altered. In this case, it was a revelation that demanded that mankind must develop the rudimentary elements of a system of government.

What do we learn from the dispensation of government (which begins in Gen. 8:15) that is fundamentally true for all time?

(This is the carryover principle—related to things that carry over past the end of one dispensation into dispensations that follow.)

We will consider five things from this dispensation that fit this category:

  • Mankind is responsible to “be fruitful, and multiply” (Gen. 9:7). Society today rejects this premise, even fearing a population explosion, but God has not rescinded this command. Mankind’s disobedience to it is actually causing tremendous problems in many nations of the world today. This is especially the case in Europe, where Islam is overpowering the Christian influence that was so important historically simply through the growth of the Muslim population.
  • Man’s heart condition is set toward evil (Gen. 8:21; cf. Gen. 4:7, NASB). We must teach our children that they have a fatal heart condition that causes them to need a new heart, which is received by grace through faith alone. That is a gift of God that was paid for by Jesus Christ and turns the one who receives it into a new creature.
  • We can rely on the earth to cycle through its seasons (Gen. 8:22). There is much fearmongering today that tells us that all that we have previously counted on in the natural world is going to come to a catastrophic end as the result of man-made global warming. We as Christians do not need to be bound by this fear. Some summers may be warmer or colder, some winters the same, but there will always be a spring, and there will always be a harvest. God has promised that it will be so.
  • Mankind is allowed to eat meat (Gen. 9:3). Many people are rejecting this gracious provision of God in our day, as well. But God instituted this change for man’s good after the flood.
  • There is a need and a responsibility for government to punish murderers (Gen. 9:6). Murder will continue, regardless of any legislation that is passed. Government must therefore determine how to implement a fair system of capital punishment.

We can see that, as opposed to the elements of the dispensation of the law, most of the key concepts from this age of government continue to be in force down to our day. However, opposition against them, and a refusal of each of these concepts, appears to be increasing in our time. Society, it seems, is rejecting this dispensation.

The Bible’s instruction toward capital punishment is being rejected. When I was growing up, I can tell you that I was influenced by society’s dismissal of these very principles of government, but I have matured in many of my views since then.

It is also instructive to note that the Bible is here teaching us the principle of limited government. Anything else is mankind’s perversion of the role that God has intended for government.

This age of government actually ends with the biggest government boondoggle in all of the Bible—the Tower of Babel. Mankind takes the little piece that God gives and twists it, turns it and perverts it. An example of this is the monarchy in Old Testament Israel, which was not God’s original agenda for the nation. It was government run amok, and the prophets warned that it would lead to taxes, wars and slavery—which, of course, it did.

The Biblical role of the government is extremely limited. It is fleshed out to some degree by the Apostle Paul in Romans 13:1-7, but we see even there that it is still very restricted. Biblically speaking, the government should not be involved in the economy, social engineering or even legislating issues of morality that should be determined by families and individuals. Strong families in good churches that know the Word of God would actually live in such way that a big government would not be necessary.

The government should not be involved in humanitarian efforts. We as believers should have a desire to care for humanity like the Good Samaritan did (cf. Luke 10:29-37), but in the terms of Scripture there is a very limited role of government. We as a society have rejected nearly all that God revealed in the age of government. Nevertheless, the teachings of this dispensation are fundamental to how our society works today.Randy White Quote - June 22, 2016The dispensation of promise is also fundamental to an understanding of our world today. That world is coming apart at the seams because man rejects the revelation that his Creator has given in Scripture. We, however, can stand out as being those who actually believe all that He has revealed.

May the Lord help us to do so.

Editor’s Note: This blog was compiled with the assistance of Paul J. Scharf,
editor in chief of Dispensational Publishing House,
and is taken from the video that you can watch in its entirety below.

(Read Part 17)

Copyright © 2017 Dispensational Publishing House, Inc.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the King James Version.

Scripture quotations marked NASB are taken from the New American Standard Bible®,
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by The Lockman Foundation
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This article was first featured on June 22, 2016.